Magazine article Public Finance

MSPs Call for Changes to Scots Budget

Magazine article Public Finance

MSPs Call for Changes to Scots Budget

Article excerpt

The Scottish government has been told by an influential cross-party Holyrood committee to rethink aspects of its £33bn budget

Ministers will need to re-examine their plans for police recruitment and planned reductions in business rates following concerns expressed by the Parliament's finance committee.

In its report examining the first draft budget ofthe Scottish National Party administration, published on January 16, the committee also raised questions about the government's ability to achieve efficiency savings of 2%.

The committee's recommendation that ministers should make extra funding available for increased levels of police recruitment follows controversy over the SNP s plans to recruit 500 new officers - about half the number it promised in its election manifesto.

The MSPs also called on the government to consider whether there was scope for further reductions in business rates applying in 2008/09 'beyond those stated in the spending review as the first stage ofthe acceleration of the reductions'.

The report said clarification was needed on whether an overall figure of £70m distributed to councils that freeze council tax bills would be adjusted if not all councils agreed to the freeze. …

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